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Old 10-07-2015, 04:30 PM
 
41 posts, read 27,058 times
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I had an 8 pound bag of Great Value Pinto Beans I bought from Walmart about 6 years ago. I had them stored in a sealed bag with O2 absorbers. So I broke it open, soaked them for about 8 hours, cooked them using this recipe:


Ingredients

1 pound pinto beans
1 small onion, halved
1 bay leaf
pound slab bacon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
teaspoon cayenne

Nutritional Information

Preparation

Pick over the beans for small rocks or debris. Rinse well, then cover with cold water and soak for 6 hours or overnight.
Transfer beans to a soup pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Add onion, bay leaf and bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer, partly cover pot with lid, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Stir in salt, paprika and cayenne, then continue simmering until beans are soft and creamy and the broth is well seasoned and lightly thickened, about 1 hour more. Remove bacon and chop roughly, then return to pot. (Dish may be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

and it seems no matter how long I cook them, the beans don't get soft. They are really cheap. I looked on the Walmart website and an 8# bag of Great Value P.B. is $7.42 while the next up brand (La Preferida 32oz) is $32. Are they too old, did I not cook them long enough or should I spring for the good kind?
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:52 PM
 
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You got some cheap hard seed beans. The soaking should have softened the outer seed skin to allow water to penetrate faster during cooking.

Hard seed beans occur in the field during hot and dry conditions or if not harvested correctly. Just go get some new beans.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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I have heard of this happening if beans are too old. I have also heard that salt will cause the beans to stay hard. Maybe it was the salt from the bacon?
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:23 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Well, for one thing, I've never had beans cook in one hour. I crock pot them for a minimum of 8 hours and often longer.

I don't know what it is about pinto beans, but I Occassionally get a bag that appears to be waterproof. They never get soft.

I'm one of those people who never salt beans until they are done cooking.

Fiesta brand pintos are usually good. I just bought a bag of Montecito brand and those are good. Both brands are packaged for the Mexican market with packaging in Spanish. The smaller beans tend to be better with the large size beans causing problems.

Pinto not cooking right has just been a problem for the last couple of years. Some new easy harvest variety, perhaps.
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:28 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Sorry. Duplicate post.
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:36 PM
 
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there's a tiny hole in the eye of a dried bean that expands in moisture lets the water penetrate. When the bean gets really old and dried, the hole doesn't have the flexibility to open up and so the water can't penetrate and it remains a bean-shaped pebble no matter how long you soak or simmer it. Sorry. You're going to have to ante up the $1 for a fresh pound of beans.
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:50 PM
 
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How weird, I've ever had that happen. I generally buy beans out of the bulk bin. I cook them in the crock pot for 6 - 8 hours though....

I was once getting ready to pitch some "old" lentils. My friend was over and at once asked to take them. She's Indian and was going to use them for some dish - in any case, she said old lentils work better (?)
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:43 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 721,731 times
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I've also had this happen with old pinto beans, once or twice. Even after simmering them for 6-8 hours, they never lost that edge of crunchiness. Sounds like old beans are a big factor, from the other posts as well.

That said, it's good advice to hold off on the salt until the end as well as to cook them A LOT longer than 1 hour after soaking, if you're going for that soft and creamy texture.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
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I've learned a few things about beans...
  • Salt aids in softening beans. Soaking stubborn beans in salted water will help soften them.
  • Sugar slows down the softening process. That's why, for Boston baked beans, I cook my beans to about the tenderness I want before adding the molasses and sugar.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:28 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 721,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirt Grinder View Post
I've learned a few things about beans...
  • Salt aids in softening beans. Soaking stubborn beans in salted water will help soften them.
  • Sugar slows down the softening process. That's why, for Boston baked beans, I cook my beans to about the tenderness I want before adding the molasses and sugar.
This is interesting since I've both experienced and read the opposite, about salt. Salting early on slows the softening process. It doesn't stop the process all together, but it definitely slows it down.

I'll also amend with one more: *Hold off on acid (tomato, lime juice, vinegar...) until towards the end of the cooking process. Acid will similarly slow down the softening process. In my experience, acid has a more dramatic effect on this process than salt does.
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